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Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

Last updated Monday, February 5, 2018

Author: Laurie Ann Thompson
Illustrator: Sean Qualls
Date of Publication: 2015
ISBN: 044981744X
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2018

Synopsis: Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most peoplebut not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled. Thompson's lyrical prose and Qualls's bold collage illustrations offer a powerful celebration of triumphing over adversity.

Note to readers:
•  There is an Author's Note on the last page of the book detailing how Emmanuel still bikes and competes today as well as advocates for people with disabilities.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What does being independent mean?
•  Who are the people in your life that encourage you?
•  What kind of obstacles do you encounter in your life?


•  Curse: something that causes misery or sadness
•  Shopkeepers: store or market owners
•  Scolded: to speak to in an angry way
•  Odum Forests: tropical rain forests
•  Disability: a physical or mental condition that makes it difficult or impossible for a person to walk, see, hear, speak, learn, or do other important things. Examples: a person who cannot walk, a person who is blind...

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What strengths do you think Emmanuel has?
•  Do you know someone with the same qualities as Emmanuel? How is that person similar or different?
•  How do you think leaders and celebrities can support causes such as Emmanuel's and make a difference to others?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a Valentine Card for your best friend,teacher, or someone you love.
•  Draw a picture of your best friend and yourself. How are you similar and different?
•  Draw a line through a map of Africa where Emmanuel rode his bike.
•  Design your own bike that you would ride on a long trip, like Emmanuel
•  Check our February craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Explore the classroom and survey how accessible it is for people with disabilities (observe ramps, doorways, any raised or cracked sidewalks, etc.)

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!